Did the disciples take notes? Somehow, they sure were able to remember a lot of details from the accounts of their lives with Jesus, the adventures they experienced with Him and the words He preached. When you think about it, and I don’t want to discount the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in any way, these guys did remarkably well for us without portable recorders, Word Pads or even legal pads and pencils. Surely they didn’t drag around a rolled up papyrus, bird feathers and grape juice or squid ink. I bet it wasn’t by carrying a stone tablet and chisel, either, because those might have been used as weapons against them. And yet, they remembered. Their recall was good.
Recall was good despite the distractions like, well, like the threat of a demoniac. Like being run out of town. Like writing notes as a tempestuous storm crashes waves over your boat. Like being on a mountain top and seeing Moses and Elijah and hearing God the Father speak. Like having an epileptic, demon controlled youth wriggling at your feet. Like being kicked out of the synagogue or assailed by angry Pharisees. All in all, I’d say we have it pretty good. Mood lighting. Climate controlled setting with a roof that doesn’t leak and A/C and heat set comfortably. Soft chairs. Children professionally cared for. Amplified sound that allows the music and the message to come through in pleasing decibels. Not bad.
But back to the notes. Let’s face it, a 40 minute spiritual pep talk once a week isn’t much compared to what works against our faith development all week long. Heck, there’s 10,080 minutes in a week and my calculator won’t even record what 40 minutes is as a ratio to that. While I believe many of us make good use of time during the week to grasp who God is, what’s important to Him and how we might implement His ideas into our lifestyles, many of us do not. So I want to make a suggestion to all of us, even though this may be in some part “preaching to the proverbial choir.” Wait for it. Wait for it. It’s notes. Take notes.
It’s not always easy to maintain a listening posture during the services. Kids squirm. Neighbors whisper. . . loudly. One can only speculate if some of the ups and downs that catch our attention are for coffee or as a result of coffee. We get distracted, don’t we? But here’s the deal. We are all subject to distractions and, if we are smart or want to be, we want those 40 minutes to count to the max. So, take notes. In doing so you are targeting your attention in the right direction and are less likely to be distracted. Oh, back up one. Make your “potty stop” before you go into the service!
Now, moving forward. Rivet your attention on the message and the scriptures being presented. By making notes, you have something in hand as a teaching aid which will assist in your refection during your personal devotional time. Getting the essence of the message more than once will greatly assist in retention AND personal application. (You do believe this, don’t you?) The big plus is this. By having the essence of the message and your written insights or questions available for you to revisit, you also give the Holy Spirit additional time and opportunity to instruct you and deepen the impact of what 40 minutes provided you. Why don’t you try it this week? I promise, the message will be good, even better when you more fully engage it. You might even catch the Pastor in a mistake and get to grill him later. (Please don’t do the grill part) Honestly, give it a shot. Use the bulletin. The pens are free. See how it helps and impresses those sitting next to you. They might even feel compelled to follow suit. Think About It!